My Lenses: A Focal Length Comparison

Yesterday, I received my Voigtlander 15mm (e mount) lens. This with my recently added Sony 55mm should finally complete my lens kit for the foreseeable future. To celebrate I created a lens focal length comparison of all my lenses in my admittedly unexciting backyard. Note that this on a full frame camera (a7ii), but the relative differences would be same for a crop sensor camera. The results and full list of lenses are below:

Full Size Focal Length Comparison Image

My Lenses

  • Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 iii
  • Canon nFD 20mm f2.8
  • Canon nFD 24mm f2
  • Sony Zeiss 35mm f2.8
  • Canon nFD 50mm f1.4
  • Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8
  • Canon nFD 85mm f1.8
  • Minolta MC 100mm f2.5
  • Minolta MD 135mm f2.8
  • Sony 55-210mm f4.5-6.3 (rear baffle removed)

The Cannon 50mm will be sold now that I have the Sony 55mm, but I was curious just how much that 5mm changed the field of view. I’ll likely sell the Cannon 20mm too as I haven’t been very impressed with it and adding Voigtlander 15mm removes its one advantage of being my widest lens. The Minolta 135mm is also potentially on the chopping block as noticeably inferior to the Minolta 100mm.

I rarely use longer lenses and already owned the Sony zoom from my NEX days, so the easy hack of removing the rear baffle to get better sensor coverage worked well for me. Due to vignetting from this hack I basically consider this a 210mm prime for the few times I need more reach. One day I may pick up the Sony 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 to replace this if I start needing longer lens more often.

How Far We’ve Come: 40 Years Of Processing Power

It’s amazing how far we’ve come in the speed of our computing. While the number of instructions a CPU can process in a second isn’t a perfect benchmark, as it doesn’t account for the efficiency of the instructions, it will do for our simple comparison. To put the difference the years have made into perspective: 1 second of processing by Intel’s (2011) i7 3960X would have taken the best 1985 personal computer over 4 hours 29 minutes!

Year Chip Millions of Instructions per Second
1985 Intel 386DX 11 MIPS at 33 MHz
1992 Intel 486DX 54 MIPS at 66 MHz
1996 Intel Pentium Pro 541 MIPS at 200 MHz
1999 Intel Pentium III 2,054 MIPS at 600 MHz
iPhone 4S ~5,000 MIPS
2003 Intel Pentium 4 9,726 MIPS at 3.2 GHz
iPhone 5S ~20,500 MIPS
iPhone 6 ~25,000 MIPS
2006 Intel Core 2 X6800 (2 core) 27,079 MIPS at 2.93 GHz
2006 Intel Core 2 QX6700 (4 core) 49,161 MIPS at 2.66 GHz
2008 Intel Core i7 920 (4 core) 82,300 MIPS at 2.66 GHz
2011 Intel Core i7 3960X (6 core) 177,730 MIPS at 3.33 GHz
2013 Intel Core i7 4770K (4 core) 133,740 MIPS at 3.9 GHz
2014 Intel Core i7 5960X (8 core) 238,310 MIPS at 3.0 GHz
2015 Intel Core i7 6700K (4 core) ~161,173 MIPS at 4.0 GHz

Note: Due to Apple’s obsession with secrecy the iPhone numbers are approximations based on custom utilities and not official. The i7 6700K was just announced last week so benchmarks aren’t available yet, but Intel claims it is 20% faster than the i7 4770K.

Beware: The Geo’s Mart Scam

Geo2PSA: The Geo’s Mart (thegeomart.com) has tempting prices, but is a scam website. Geo mart is currently advertising on eBay with better looking and better priced items similar to your searches. But there will be problems with your order and then with their credit card processing. The fix is of course to wire them money. Ha! Right. Is there a prince I can help too?

For those unaware a credit card is a barrier of protection in case of say: the product you purchased online never arriving. Simply dispute the charges to keep your money out of the scammer’s pocket. A wire transfer is has no such protection – so save it for your next house closing.

I post this since there doesn’t seem to be anything online warning potential customers of this scam yet. Save yourself the wasted time and avoid the Geo Mart.

Suppositions on Angels

Since it is Easter weekend, I got to thinking about angels while making breakfast. Mostly about how many people seem to have a terribly inaccurate view about them. I speak of the common misconception that people become angels when they die.

CherubsThere are many ways to refute this notion, but the foremost in my mind is the sheer lack of diversity. The idea that human and heavenly spirits are basically interchangeable seems to ignore the rampant creativity surrounding us. Is there just one kid of fish in the sea? Or bird in the air? Or creepy looking bug crawling around the walls of your home? The diversity of such things is astounding. And this is before we consider the variations inside smaller groups such as dogs or the absurdity of the platypus. The creator of such vivid richness surely has an inclination toward creating more than one kind of spiritual being.

Religious texts back up this premise. None of descriptions of angels equate them to humans and many texts call out specific differences. For example ‘you have made man a little lower than the angels’ and ‘the sound of the wings of the angel was heard as far as the outer court’. Similarities exist of course, but the same can be said for the gold fish and the tiger shark.

So what is driving this common misconception? I believe it stems from three things. A lack of understanding about heaven in general. A lack of appreciation regarding the true nature of angels. And perhaps a fear of whether our protectors truly care about us.

GuardianAngelWatchingOverThemForemost of these is a lack of knowledge about heaven. Although it’s based mostly on hallmark card imagery, many people envision a heaven with plump little cherubim and endless harp playing. This viewpoint is deftly skewered in Mark Twain’s Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven. While Twain’s portrayal of heaven falls sort of the mark, it is a good deal closer to the reality than many of the people I’ve spoken with about it. I don’t want to digress to far down this path, but suffice to say that heaven is a lot closer to earthly life than most people realize. Bringing these misconceptions back on point: when one believes that heaven is a lot of idle time and harp playing, the idea of being a “guardian angel” starts to sound a lot more appealing.

The nature of angels is the second cause for this common mistake. It’s strange that we oft consider the guardian role of angels and sometimes even them “going to battle” for us, but then envision a figure that seems inspired by Disney. This imagery does lend itself towards the idea that aunt Irene is now watching over the little children (or us), but it neglects the true nature of angels. At the core of their being they are warriors and fearsome ones at that. Which is why angels start messages to mankind with the words: fear not. While the artist rendition below fails to fully capture this, it at least should help improve our mental pictures from a doting aunt to an awe-inspiring presence.

dark-angel-219927

Following this second cause it isn’t without irony that I suggest the final cause as a fear about angels. I don’t claim to know everyone’s hidden fears. However, a fear regarding the purposes and inclinations of angels seems to fit here. Do angels really guards us? Why would such protectors truly care? It is easier for us to reconcile our departed family members looking after us (at least the nicer ones) than some unnamed and unknown spiritual soldier. Clinging doubts about the duties the heavenly host serve – and perhaps more so the one they serve – can make the fairy tale versions so much more appealing.

Just some food for thought…

5K Ironman Is Dead. Long Live 10K Ironman!

After a year of training, the data is indisputable. One simply cannot train for a half Ironman by only running 5Ks. It was a valiant effort of intense interval training, but it is time to face facts: mileage matters.  So armed with this new knowledge and further advice from the experts we are killing the 5K Ironman idea and replacing it with the far better 10K Ironman!

That’s right, I’m training for an Ironman, but only running 10Ks!exhausted-runner

The basic principals remain: train for a Half Ironman – commonly referred to as a 70.3 (1.2 mi swim, 56 mi bike, 13.1 mi run) with minimal training miles and time.

How is this possible?

HIIT. That’s High Intensity Interval Training. Translated from trendy trainer lingo it means: running hard; really, really hard. HIIT is simply a fancy acronym for the same interval training which has been around for a long time. However, it is rarely applied to endurance race training which is traditionally running lots of miles at a moderate pace (ignoring limited “speed work” done on top of the massive mileage).

The New Plan

  • Run 10K worth of intervals (run/walk/repeat) generally on my treadmill increasing the running speed, incline or ratio (more running or less walking) as I’m able.*
  • Run 10Ks twice a week.
  • If it is nice outside I may optionally substitute 60-90 minutes of cycling or swimming for one of my 10Ks.

Background

I initially got into trisport because I needed a reason to workout and I enjoy both swimming and biking. I first set my sights on a Sprint Tri and then later an Olympic Tri. But I slowly fell out of it because training at long distances was too much of a time commitment. Then I went back to grad school and my free time all but vanished.

I got the idea from Tim Ferris’ book The 4 Hour Body that covers how intense interval training can substitute for moderately paced longer mileage training for marathons or even ultra marathons. His book includes a full training schedule with different intervals for different days (runners do seem to love complicated schedules – just pick up any running magazine), but I wanted something super simple, so I distilled Tim’s two chapters into this:

Progress

When I started in December 2013 I was only doing 2 min of 10 min/mi pace runs with 2 min walks, because grad school had gotten me completely out of shape.  Now I’m doing things like running 7 min/mile half mile “sprints”, or 11 min/mile 10% incline “hill” intervals, or 62 minute 10K “races.” My resting heart rate has dropped from the high 90s to the low 50s.

Disclaimers

I feel like I should point out the fact that I hate running. It sucks. Unfortunately it is both effective and efficient at preparing my heart and body for an Ironman event.

The longest I’ve ever run is 10 miles. The longest I’ve ever swam continuously is ~55 min and ~1 mile. The longest I’ve ever biked is ~36 miles.

* I do not include my warm up (1 min walk/1 min run walk intervals at 5, 6, & 7 mph) and cool down (3 min walk) in my 10K interval distance. I do include the distance walking between the running portions of the main intervals.

#10KIronman